The God of Small Things
The literary phenomenon of the year.More magical than Mistry, more of a rollicking good read than Rushdie, more nerve-tinglingly imagined than Naipaul, here, perhaps, is the greatest Indian novel by a woman. Arundhati Roy has written an astonishingly rich, fertile novel, teeming with life, colour, heart-stopping language, wry comedy and a hint of magical realism.Set against a background of political turbulence in Kerala, Southern India, The God of Small Things tells the story of twins Esthappen and Rahel. Amongst the vats of banana jam and heaps of peppercorns in their grandmother's factory, they try to craft a childhood for themselves amidst what constitutes their family - their lonely, lovely mother, their beloved Uncle Chacko (pickle baron, radical Marxist and bottom-pincher) and their avowed enemy Baby Kochamma (ex-nun and incumbent grand-aunt).
- Paperback | 352 pages
- 110 x 174 x 26mm | 199.58g
- 06 Oct 1997
- HarperCollins Publishers
- London, United Kingdom
- ePub edition
`In part a perfectly paced mystery story, in part an Indian Wuthering Heights: a gorgeous and seductive fever dream of a novel, and a truly spectacular debut.'Kirkus`The God of Small Things genuinely is a masterpiece, utterly exceptional in every way, and there can be little doubt that posterity will place it very near the top of any shortlist of Indian novels published this century.'William Dalyrmple, Harpers and Queen.`The quality of Ms. Roy's narration is so extraordinary - at once so morally strenuous and so imaginatively supple - that the reader remains enthralled all the way through to its agonizing finish... it evokes in the reader a feeling of gratitude and wonderment.'New York Times
About Arundhati Roy
Arundhati Roy is an award-winning film-maker and a trained architect. The God of Small Things is her first novel.
Our customer reviews
The God of Small Things, the first (and so far, only) novel by Indian writer, Arundhati Roy, was written between 1992 and 1996. This (semi-autobiographical) story takes place in the village of Ayemenem and the town of Kottayam, near Cochin in Kerala, and is set principally during two time periods: December 1969 and 23 years later. The main characters are Esthappen (Estha) and Rahel, seven-year-old two-egg (i.e. non-identical) twins, and their mother Ammu. Ammu falls in love with Velutha Paapen, a Paraven (Untouchable) who works for the familyÃ¢??s Pickle Factory, a man the twins already list amongst their most-loved. But even in 1969, with a Communist Government, parts of India are still firmly in the grip of the Caste system. By breaking the "Love Laws," or "The laws that lay down who should be loved, and how. And how muchÃ¢??, Ammu and the twins set in motion Ã¢??The TerrorÃ¢??. The manipulations of AmmuÃ¢??s aunt, Baby Kochamma, are instrumental in bringing down The Terror, and her subsequent cruelty to Ammu and the twins will leave readers gasping. As well as commenting on the Caste system and Class discrimination in general, the novel examines Indian history and politics, the taboos of conventional society, and religion. But more than anything, this is a story about love and betrayal. The innocent observations of 7-year-olds, their interpretation of unfamiliar words and phrases, the (typically Indian) Capitalisation of Significant Words, the running together of and splitting apart of words , the phonetic spelling, all are a source of humour and delight in this novel. Ã¢??ItÃ¢??s an afternoon-mareÃ¢??, Estha-the-Accurate replied. Ã¢??She dreams a lotÃ¢??. Even as Estha is being molested by the Orangedrink Lemondrink man in the Abhilash Talkies, his observations (Ã¢??Not a moonbeam.Ã¢??) bring laughter. Echoes, repetitions and resonances abound. Roy is a master of the language: Ã¢??So futile. Like polishing firewood.Ã¢?? Her prose is luminous. This novel is powerful, moving, tragic. Beautifully written, with wonderful word pictures. This novel demands at least two reads: once to learn the story; a second time to appreciate the echoes and repetitions and understand what the early references mean. It deserves a third reading to fully appreciate the prose, the descriptive passages. On this, my third reading, I read parts I would swear I had not read earlier. And I had tears in my eyes very early in the novel. I loved this book when I first read it: I love it even more now. I remain hopeful that Arundhati Roy will share her considerable literary talents with her eager readers in the form of another novel.show moreby Marianne Vincent
A book that reads like a poem, how rare is that. Yet this book achieves just that. It the story of a fractured family in India and like all unhappy families that are unique in their unhappiness, this one is also special. Through flashbacks and fastforwards, the book reveals why the people are unhappy. The language is lyrical, poetic and flows like a river of words. The twins; Rahel and Estha are connected beyond ordinary understanding and are Me rather than We. The twins' grandmother; Blind Mammachi is an abused widow of her overbearing husband and her lopsided son Chacko. Baby Kochamma, grandaunt of the twins is a symbol of desperate unrequited and finally bitter love. The twins' mother ; Ammu the is a divorcee and a woman who has is untamed wilderness and is the root cause of the family's undoing. Whether or not the style will be your cup of tea, the characters are what makes this story come alive and finally in the way the words wash over you, you will be caught up in the stream and unable to let go till you come around full circle and start again.show moreby Nadia Hussain